I've been a long-time fan of Iris Johansen, especially the Eve Duncan series. Although STALEMATE is decidedly different from the other stories starring Eve Duncan from the past, I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it--so much so that I stayed up until 3am to finish the book.
Yes, the Eve in this story isn't the saintly, never-do-anything-wrong Eve that many readers have come to know and love. She becomes attracted to a bad guy who, at least in the beginning of the story, is the mother of all bad guys. Montalvo, however, isn't what he appears to be--just, as it would turn out, the same way that solid, ever-steady Eve isn't just the pushover we've always thought her to be.
The action in this story is non-stop, with a great appearance by Galen (one of my favorite characters of all-time) and with a great new character, 19-year-old Miguel. Montalvo, I'll admit, is a very, very appealing character; whether he's being a bad guy who seems to kill without compunction or a sensitive man who lost his wife to a drug lord, you can't help but find yourself drawn to him.
I, for one, am hoping that Ms. Johansen brings Montalvo back for more stories. Whether or not Eve and Joe (who, by the way, acted like a giant, ego-bruised baby throughout most of this story) can get their relationship back on track, or whether Eve will allow her attraction to Montalvo to grow, we'll have to wait and see.
But STALEMATE is definitely not a disappointing read. Kudos to Ms. Johansen for bringing back an Eve Duncan who actually started to act like a real, fallible human being, instead of a perfect, wounded princess.